Green Tourism Marketing; A New Perspective from Grant’s Grid

Green Tourism Marketing; A New  Perspective from Grant’s Grid

Canan Madran, Ph.D.,Professor

Marketing Department

Çukurova University, Faculty of Economics &

Admininstrative Sciences





With its current  practices, Tourism industry has many negative effects to  environmental protection. Marketing people -all in public, government and private level specialists- working in tourism sector, should configure the best green solutions for the  current and future strategies. THE REAL GREEN alternatives are needed. This paper uses John Grant’s Green Marketing Grid  to suggest a new perspective(re-thinking process) about tourism marketing strategies.

Key-words; Green Marketing, Sustainable/Responsible  Tourism, Ecotourism, Green Marketing Grid


Tourism, “the pipeless industry” creates huge amounts of contaminants, consumes loads of natural sources and energy, and sometimes leads cultural and historical corrosions. Globally, tourisim shuffles across almost 1 billion people every year by  various touristic purposes. With its current  practices, Tourism activity has many negative effects to  environmental protection (Archer&Cooper, 1998). These can be summarized in general as (Akdoğan & Kozak, 1996:79);

• Touristic facilities and buildings disrupts environment and  environmental systems.

• Touristic facilities  usually  spoils the general sightseeing of the area.

• By tourism activity natural protected areas gets contaminated in various dimensions (air, water, land).

• Production of touristic services create  enormous amounts of waste and hard to solve sewage problems.

• Noise pollution.

• Both on the seashore and  in every touristic locations, tourism  creates irregular urbanization.

• Transportation  creates many environmental problems and pollution.

• Unplanned and  misusage of scarce natural and historical sources.

Table 1.Tourism and Environmental Issues in Time

Period Theme Environment Tourism
1950s Interest and discovery Use and exploit Beginning of mass tourism
1960s Gaining conscio-usness Public interest and protests Development and enhancement. Environmental issues are seen as attraction.
1970s Institutionalisation Environmental Office in charge in USA.Concern on air and water contamination Growth and success period, Marketing, Research on influences of tourism to environment
1980s Toxic concern Acid rain, global warming, ozon layer corrosion Enlarging world market, technologic improvements
1990s Rain forest destruction Climate change,loose top soil,  global affects Ecotoursim, sustainable development
2000s Global warming Disasters,clean energy sources, 


Slow city practices, ecotourism,

Source: Adapted from Toker, 1995:49.

These first decades of the  year  2000s  is a crucially important  period,  to redesign the common  perspective and behaviour about environmental issues and  tourism. Otherwise there will be  no clean, nice, relaxing, exciting and safety tourism possibility in the late  of the century. As the other  dimensions of  the sustainable development, tourism should be redesigned, rebuild, redefined according to the potentials of current and future resources.

1.Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is tourism attempting to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people. The pillars of sustainable tourism  are environmental integrity, social justice and economic development. In Responsible Tourism management – which is a form of sustainable tourism concept-   individuals, organisations and businesses are asked to take responsibility for their actions and the impacts of their actions. Responsible tourism applications covers the following qualifications ( wiki/ Sustainable_tourism,2011);

  • Minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts,
  • Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities,
  • Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances,
  • Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity,
  • Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues,
  • Provides access for people with disabilities,
  • It is culturally sensitive, it  engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

One of the very important dimension of the success of Sustainable and/or Responsible  Tourism (Archer,Cooper; 1998, 78) is, it should have a community based- management   approach. This form of tourism is based on the premise that the people living next to a resource are the ones best suited to protecting it. The tourism activities and businesses are developed and operated by local community members, and certainly with their consent and support. The use of local knowledge also means an easier entry level into a tourism industry for locals whose jobs or livelihoods are affected by the use of their environment as tourism locations (  wiki/Sustainable_tourism).

2.Ecotourism and  Ecotourist

Under the sustainable tourism philosophy, the most practical concepts are Ecotourism and Ecotourists, which we will  use for the applications  of the green marketing issues. These concepts are the target markets of marketing strategies imposed by governments, tourism industry and individual companies, hotels and tourism agencies. Ecotourism had been  defined  in 1990 by TIES(The International Ecoturism Society) as; “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people” ( wiki/Sustainable_tourism). Another definition asserts those dimensions of ecotourism (Whiteman,1996, 97), those are;

  • Direct experiencence with natural and cultural environment,
  • Defining the environment according  the rules of nature, not the tourists,
  • Accepting the limitations about the usage of  natural and cultural resources,
  • Planning  and  participating in ecotours,
  • Improving the environmental ethics concern of tourists,
  • Economic contribution to  tourism industry,
  • Directing part of the income  to the local area of the natural resources.


Ecotourism is defined as an enligthening  and respectful form of natural tourism experience (Wight,2001). All of the definitions has three pillars of ecotourism; environmentally sustainable, economically practical and socially and psychologically acceptable.

3. Green Tourism Marketing

Sustainable tourism  management needs real green ways of doing business. Green marketing is defined as follows in; “(social marketing definition) The development and marketing of products designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality. 3. (environments definition) The efforts by organizations to produce, promote, package, and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns”. According to Grant (2008), to  avoid from the greenwashing threat, green marketing suggests realistic marketing approach to brands and companies. Company and the customers should be in  cooperation in the total green  process.

Current marketing practices and habits are mainly different forms of “greewashing”. Greenwashing is showing the normal things as green. But the new marketing paradigm should refuse this tricky approach. Even the mass productions were named or labeled  as “natural” and “ homemade”.  New approach of sustainable marketing refuses the mass consumptionalized, desire-lubricating advertising and promotion practices. But it offers a realistic, transparent, consumer-friendly, cooperative, social network based and a clearly recommended concept.  Green marketing takes care of the consumers and educates them. Green marketing contains not only “the good-looking products”, but also “the real good  products”. Marketing can easily makes the different things and issues  to be  accepted  as “normal”. The ideal mission of marketing should be to motivate consumers to be more GREEN (Grant, 2008:68).

Grant asserts two main debate areas of perception as “to cut” and “to switch”. Actually these two concepts are inevitablely important for a final decision to sustain.  The waste hierarchy, refers to the  4  Rs of reduce, reuse, recyclerecover and  added “re-think”. 5Rs is a beginning step to understand the new marketing approach. To cut; means  to  consume less, to have simple lifesytles, to share more,  to buy from real “good producers. To Switch; means to quit from unconscious consumption habits, and change the behaviours to buy ethic, rational, low carbon  and fascinating, improved products. Especially in the last  50 years, consumers were tought to consume unconsciously by large advertising and marketing mechanisms. But according to Grant; marketing is  still one of the most important mechanism to impose and teach consumers new thoughts of   new lifestyles. (Grant, 2008:9-10).

3.1. Green Marketing Matrix

Green marketing matrix is a two dimensional matrix.

1st Dimension. Making important modifications in consumption culture and life styles.Green marketing has 3 activity based objectives (Grant, 2008:28);

  1. Green – setting new standards- communication; ex.Fuel efficient cars
  2. More Green  – sharing responsibilty – cooperation;  ex. Campaign for using cars efficiently (low carbon, fuel saving)
  3. Greenest – supporting innovation  – to change culture;  to rent, to lend or to share the car when unused.

2nd Dimension. Grant suggests 3 hierarchical levels; Public, Social and Personal levels of action.

Table 2. Grant’s Green Marketing Grid

A.Green B.More Green C.Greenest
1. Company & Set an Example Develop the Market New
Markt Business

Social Brands

Credible Tribal Trojan
&  Belonging Partners Brands Horse

Personal Goods &

Market  a Changing Challenge
Habits Benefit Usage Consuming
Setting New Standards- Sharing Supporting
Communication Responsibility Innovation-
Cooperation Culture reshaped

Source: J.Grant, The Green Marketing Maifesto, MediaCat, Istanbul, 2008

Strategies in the matrix blends issues from “sustainability”, “web 2.0” and “new marketing paradigm”. “Web 2.0”, are 2nd internet generation which the users share and use the services in common (ex. Wikipedia, youtube) (Grant,2008:29-31). Green marketing matrix can be enlarged for the tourism industry (Grant,2008:94-97).We will supply some examples for hotels, travel agencies and transportation  companies and even for the government, and tourists for each box of the matrix.

A.1 Set an Example: Hotels  should announce that they have new environmental standards and they should promote the pioneering innovation; as the green energy sources of the hotel(ex.a windturbine, solar energy). “Zero carbon emission  airways” as Aeroperlas REGIONAL in Panama, SANSA REGIONAL in Costa Rica.

A.2 Credible Partners: Cooperation with reliable partners, as Green Globe International, Blue Flag, PATA Green Leaf etc.. Green sponsorship is a useful effort as Cittaslow Supporter .

A.3 Market a Benefit: Green products are good for all. Green efforts create savings on the costs and produces high quality  products. Thinking and working on the green issues  enriches the industry. Travel by bicycle (Velib-Paris), solar powered car, or sailing boat produces no carbon emissions.

B.1 Develop the Market: Hotels or tourism companies having comprehensive sustainable programmes, create highly respected reputations against competitors. Humane tourism, to empower local communities through travel related businesses around the world is a market development strategy. The ultimate purpose is to create “ Mass ethic consumers”. All  shareholders of tourism industry should be included the  “environmental training” programmes. Provacative and pioneering tourism organizsations should make publicity on various environmental issues. Campaigns  and grassroot movements enlarges the understanding in the market.

B.2 Tribal Brands: Tourism organizations and companies should create strong networks of users and participants. “Elite” eco-tourists, or “green” travellers  would be the admired consumers of  tourism.

B.3 Changing Usage: There are two ways of changing usage; 1st changing with a better alternative; using train for all accessible area instead of plane.  2nd way is to cut  the unsustainable usage; avoid to select hotels which has no environmental concern, or ceasing  flights  in close destinations, accessible by train and seaways in Europe.

C.1 New Business Concepts: Creating a new way of operating or new business models. These efforts are redesigning of the world and culture. Cittaslow is the part of slow movement, which is a new way of living in modern world. Cittaslow  practices are good  examples as  Biskupiec, Reszel,Lidzbark Warmiński   in Poland.

C.2 Trojan Horse Ideas: This contents all examples, which suggests radical green innovations via cultural packages. How could familiar cultural ideas be used to establish new norms?, How to make a green brand a cool brand?, How to make a green hotel, a cool alternative?

C.3 Challenge to Consuming: Current consumption economy is not sustainable. Tourists should use products in long lifespans, they should share instead of to collect, and they can rent the things needed. Traditional constitutions welcomes modern ones,so there is a need to  appraise the things belong to old times, the classics  of all areas are meaningful for human being. So, people can still find symbols and meanings to consume without comsuming resources needed for new. Being Slow is an important  resource of power, Being Local is the second. Single use, disposables  should not be in the green tourism consumption. Retro is a never ending fashion, keep and use long. DIY (Do It Yourself) is a very green alternative. Rental services are green; in London City Club you can rent a car in the club and only pay when you use it.


Marketers are the ones who can introduce the new ideas, new lifestyles, new paradigms and the ones who knows the best how to change  the attitudes and behaviours.  The new upcoming paradigms of these decades should be REAL GREENS.

Grant (2008) rounds up with;

“As communication experts, marketers are in a place where they can really influence, and hopefully change the way we, the consumer, behave…In the west, an uneconomic, non‐satisfactory,luxury consumption comes to an end… Brave‐hearths are needed to decrease Carbon footprints as 70%… The job of the marketer is to change life styles of the people…”

Personal resource usag


[1] Akdoğan, M., Kozak, N., Genel Turizm İlkeler-Kavramlar, Ankara, 216 pages, 1996

[2] Archer, B. Cooper C., The Positive and Negative Impacts of Tourism, in  William H. Theobald (eds) Global Tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann,1998

[3] Grant, J., Yeşil Pazarlama Manifetosu, (The Green Marketing Manifesto), Mediacat Yayınları, 2008

[4] Toker, M. C., Türkiye’de Turizm Ve Çevre (Karşılıklı Etkileşim Yaklaşımı  Açısından Bir İnceleme), Master Thesis, Gazi University, Institute of Social Sciences, Ankara, 1995

[5] Whiteman, J. Ecotourism promotes, protects environment, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy [Forum Appl. Res. Public Policy]. Vol. 11, no. 4, 1996, pp. 96-101

[6] Wight, P., Ecotourists: Not a Homogenous  Market Segment,in David B. Weaver (eds) The Encyclopedia of Ecotourism,CAB International, 2001

[7] wiki/ Sustainable_tourism,2011

[8], 2011

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